Top 7 hidden gems in Iceland

Visiting Iceland and looking for hidden gems that are not on every tourist´s radar?

In this blog post I will share my TOP 7 hidden gems in Iceland with you.

Check them all out and make sure to add some to your Iceland bucketlist. 

Note that this blog post is based on a trip to Iceland in winter, so some hidden gems that I might have wanted to explore were not accessible.

Also, to make things easier for you and also for me, I am writing the names of all this wonderful places without apostrophes. 

hidden gems Iceland

1. Gluggafoss

My very favorite hidden gem in Iceland!

This was one of the first waterfalls I visited in Iceland and it literally blew my mind.

I spent more than 2 full hours there, taking pictures, admiring the beauty and flying my drone. I have not seen a single other person in the whole two hours!! How is this possible? I don´t know, honestly. Especially since it is located in the South of Iceland, easily accessible and not far from the ring road and quite close by other, more famous waterfalls.

Ok, not super close but like 15 kilometers. Is the detour worth it? Absolutely!!

Apart from the fact that this waterfall looks quite different to most of the other waterfalls I have visited in Iceland, it is quite easily accessible through a short trail from the FREE parking area. Also the road to get there is nicely serviced in winter.

Another advantage is that you are allowed to fly drones here, which is not permitted at most bigger and more popular falls.

This hidden gem in Iceland has deserved it´s #1 in my ranking and I hope you will visit on your trip to Iceland and witness the magic I felt at this place!

Where is Gluggafoss located?

About 15 minutes drive from the ring road.

Approximately same distance from Hvollsvöllur and also Seljalandsfoss. 

How much does it cost?


Gluggafoss waterfall

2. Hauganes Hot Tubs

It was a very tough choice between my TOP 1 and TOP 2 hidden gem in Iceland, they are both insane!

This is definitely the most unique outdoor hot tub I have seen in my entire life.

An old sailing boat, filled up with hot spring water with magical ocean views! Wait what?

Yes, you heard that right! A boat as an outdoor hot tub.

Even better: This place is hardly known by tourists and also not on the usual tourist route.

In addition to the boat hot tub, there are 3 more hot tubs with varying water temperatures. The views of the bay and the tranquility of this place will blow your mind.

I have even been lucky enough to spot some seals from the comfort of the hot tub!

In between hot soaks, you can cool down in the cold ocean. 

The place also has a heated changing room, toilet as well as a shower.

If you love a good outdoor hot tub as much as I do, do not miss out on this hidden gem on your trip to Iceland!

Where are Hauganes Hot Tubs located? 

It is located about 30 minutes North of Akureyri in the small town of Hauganes.

How much is does it cost? 

1000 ISK per person (about 7 USD), payable by barcode upon arrival.

Hauganes hot tubs - one of my favorite hidden gems in Iceland
Hauganes Hot tubs from above

3. Gljufrabui

Gljufrabui is an incredible waterfall hidden gem in South Iceland.

I actually found this place accidentally while visiting it´s more popular neighbour Seljalandsfoss.

I followed a small footpath on the left, just to find this insane beauty at the end of the trail.

This hidden waterfall is located inside a canyon and you need to walk through water and on slippery stones to get into the canyon and have a closer look on the waterfall.

Unforutately, I did not bring spikes/ crampons on my trip (my number 1 mistake – read my blog post Iceland in winter to be prepared), so I could not enter the canyon safely.

But also peaking into the narrow canyon and seeing the beautiful waterfall inside, was worth it.

This place is number 1 on my Iceland to do list when I return (hopefully soon).

Where is Gljufrabui located? 

About a 10-minute walk from Seljalandsfoss. 

How much does it cost?

Parking is only possible at Seljalandsfoss and costs 700 ISK (about 5 USD).

Gljufrabuj - one of the best hidden gems in Iceland

4. Hvammsvik Nature Baths

Wow, what a place!

If you are into hot springs, you CANNOT miss out on this amazing hidden gem when visiting Iceland.

Hvammsvik is located in the middle of nature in a beautiful bay, right by the ocean with stunning mountain views.

It features a total of 8 hot spring pools with varying temperatures, depending on the ocean´s tide. During high tide some of the pools completely diseappear below the surface.

Hvammsvik also has a steam sauna as well as a bar and restaurant and facilities such as changing rooms and showers.

I absolutely loved my experience at Hvammsvik and can´t recommend visiting enough. This hidden gem is gaining popularity fast due to it´s amazing location and hot springs.

Wildlife here is incredible as well and you will be able to see many different birds and if you are lucky, you might even spot a seal.

I also recommend staying at one of their accommodation options (I stayed at the Lake house with insane views). Pro tip: They have a “secret pool” that is only accessible to guests staying overnight in a very unique and private setting.

Reserve your visit online before visiting!

Where is Hvammsvik located?

About 40 minutes drive from either Reykjavik or Borgarnes, in the middle of Iceland´s incredible nature. 

How much does it cost?

Day visits start at 6900 ISK (about 50 USD) and overnight stays starting at 500 USD per night. 

you want to pack your bikini for your trip to Iceland in winter
hidden gems in Iceland: Hvammsvik Nature Baths

5. Kvernufoss

One of my favorite waterfalls in Iceland and compared to it´s famous neighbour Skógafoss, much less visited.

To get to Kvernufoss, you need to walk about 15 minutes from the parking lot until you reach the waterfall.  

This is one of those waterfalls, where you can walk behind the fall itself, which is an amazing angle. In winter, be sure to not attempt getting behind the waterfall without micro spikes or even better crampons, it is super icy and slippery.

At this hidden gem it is also allowed to fly drones, not like at most of the more famous waterfalls.

I really enjoyed the walk to get to the falls and even saw some beautiful Icelandic horses on the way there.

Make sure to add this amazing waterfall to your to list, especially if you visit the close-by Skogafoss anyways.

Where is Kvernufoss located?

In the small town Skogar, only a few hundred meters from the popular Skogafoss.

How much does it cost?

Parking at the trail head costs 750 ISK (about 5 USD), however you can park at Skogafoss for free and walk there, which adds another 15 minutes to the walk.

hidden gems in Iceland: Kvernufoss

6. Vik Black Sand Beach

This beautiful black sand beach is located along the coast line of the town Vik.

While only a few kilometers further up, the famous Reynisdrangar beach is overrun by tourists daily, this beauty is hardly visited.

From this beach you have stunning views on rock formations (the same ones as you see from Reynisdrangar).

It is a great place to go for a walk and see the waves crushing in. But pay attention to sneaker waves, like everywhere else in Iceland and don´t get too close to the water.

Also make sure to check in advance, if there are warnings out for high waves and wind. More details for weather warnings etc. in my blog post Iceland in winter

If you like beaches and are looking for beach with less tourists, check this hidden gem in Iceland out!

Where is Vik Black Sand Beach located?

Vik, a few minutes walk from the center. 

How much does it cost?


Vik Black Sand Beach
Vik Black Sand Beach, hidden gems in Iceland

7. Fosslaug

This hidden gem of a hot spring is one of the only free ones to visit.

It is located quite a bit off the most touristy areas of Iceland and therefor not as easily reachable as most others.

The setting of this hot springs is simply stunning, on top of a waterfall, along a beautiful river.

The water is HOT and outside it´s COLD, so be prepared to get in and out of the hot spring in these conditions and walk the 10 minutes back to the car park. Also note that there are no facilities at this hot spring.

If you are into hot springs and free things to do – add this hidden gem to your Iceland bucketlist!

Where is Fosslaug located?

About 5 minutes drive from the small town Varmahild in the North of Iceland.

How much does it cost?


one of the best hidden gems in Iceland: Fosslaug hot spring

Added some of this amazing hidden gems in Iceland to your bucketlist? I hope so!

Make sure to check out more blog posts about Iceland to help with planning yor perfect trip: